One of the most frequently asked questions I get is how to uninstall
McAfee or Norton antivirus and security products. Maybe its because
trial versions of these products were preinstalled when the customer
purchased the computer, or maybe you want to uninstall McAfee and
install another antivirus software product.
I've even received mail from computer users trying to install an
antivirus product and they are told to uninstall McAfee before they can
proceed even though it appears McAfee is not running on the system.
I'm also amazed at how many viruses attack McAfee and Norton
products especially and disable them so they can wreck havoc on the
My personal experience with McAfee hasn't been positive. I installed
McAfee on my wife's computer a year or so ago. Everything seemed to
work ok, although the antivirus slowed down her system a bit. Then
roughly a year later, I look at my monthly credit card bill and see
that McAfee has automatically billed me for another year of service. I
was planning on removing the software and installing a free antivirus
called Avast on her computer when the renewal time expired. But McAfee
decided to bill me. Needless to say, I removed McAfee from her computer
and called their billing department ASAP. I was told by a friendly
customer service representative they autobill so customers wont be
caught unprotected. Let's just say I like to control my purchases a bit
more than that and didn't appreciate an automatic bill that I didnt
expect. I requested a refund which I received a week later and promptly
One other interesting tidbit, during the research for this article. I
ran the latest Hijackthis program, now owned by Trend Micro. Version 2
of Hijackthis has a few very nice features and I expected to get a list
of all the files McAfee was running in the background. Instead I
received the following message:
McAfee blocked Hijackthis_v2 and tells me it contains a virus. Strange
since I've used Hijackthis on a daily basis and none of my antivirus
products have ever alerted me to the presence of a virus in it. McAfee
claims Hijackthis is infected with the W32/Generic.worm!p2p, which
according to their virus database is a generic detection of worms that
can propagate through P2P file-sharing software (Kazaa, Gnutella,
eDonkey, Bearshare, Shareaza, Gnucleus, Limewire, Morpheus, Grokster,
etc.). I don't have any of these P2P file sharing programs installed on
the computer and use HijackThis on it regularly.
Just to be sure, I ran the Hijackthis_v2 file through several online
file scanners and none of them found a virus in the file. This makes me
question the accuracy of McAfee's virus database and file signatures.
Although you are welcome to draw your own conclusions about McAfee,
that false positive was enough for me to remove it from my computer and
install a free antivirus instead.
Follow the instructions below to safely remove McAfee security products
including their antivirus and firewall from your computer.
Removal through the Add/Remove Programs Control Panel
In many cases, you can simply remove McAfee products through the
Add/Remove Control Panel.
1) Click on Start, Click on Control Panel
2) Double-click on Add or Remove Programs
3) Find the Network Associates or McAfee product listed and click on
it. It should look similar to the following
4) Click on Change/Remove
5) You'll see a screen similar to the one below. Place a checkmark next
to each McAfee product you wish to remove and click Remove
6) You'll see a warning message like this one, click on the Remove
7) .The removal process will start showing each program being
removed, then it will ask to restart the computer. Go ahead and reboot
after the removal process is finished.
8) After rebooting McAfee should be removed from your system.
some reason, the normal uninstall does not remove it, I recommend
following the automatic uninstall instructions below to remove McAfee
Removing McAfee Automatically
McAfee has created an automatic removal program to remove the following
software products when the normal removal methods fail. It does not
work with Windows 98 or Windows ME. The removal tool deletes all traces
of the following products in Windows 2000 Pro, Windows XP Home and
Professional, and Windows Vista.
- McAfee Security Center
- McAfee VirusScan
- McAfee Personal Firewall Plus
- McAfee Privacy Service
- McAfee SpamKiller
- McAfee Wireless Network Security
- McAfee SiteAdvisor
- McAfee Data Backup
- McAfee Network Manager
- McAfee Easy Network
- McAfee AntiSpyware
Follow these directions to download the McAfee Removal Tool
and run it to remove the above programs.
- Click on the following link to download the MCPR removal
- Click Save and save the file to your desktop
- Close all McAfee Application windows you may have open, and
double-click on MCPR.exe to
start the removal tool. Windows Vista users will have to right-click on
the file and select "Run as Administrator"
- After the removal tool finishes, you should be prompted to
restart your computer.
- Once the computer restarts, your McAfee product should be
- If for any reason there appears a red X during the
uninstall, go to the
following location for more advanced uninstall instructions involving
Extra Optional Steps
- Open My Computer, double-click on Drive C
- Double-click on Program Files
- Look for any McAfee product folders that remain.
Right-click on them
and choose Delete
- Close My Computer and other folders
Other Removal Instructions for Antivirus Programs
Buy Anti-Virus Software
If you don't already have antivirus software loaded on your computer. You should download and install an antivirus product immediately. The popular commercial antivirus products like McAfee and Norton are ok, but there are also excellent free antivirus solutions available. Listed below are some of the popular free and commercial antivirus software products.